Saturday, 16 June 2012

Baking class - chocolate muffins (the best ever)

So I'm up early today baking muffins for the village summer fete. It's a combined village/school fete this year, partly because of the Jubilee and also I think because of building work going on to extend the primary school. The fete is held in the village hall and of course Dot brought an empty cake box home on Thursday, which loosely translated means 'please donate cakes to the tea shop so we can sell them back to you'.

My contribution was a batch of chocolate muffins which are ever so simple to make but taste delicious. Usually they are darker than than the ones pictured above, but I didn't put in so much cocoa this time as I knew children would be eating them. I added dark chocolate chips to most of them, except the couple I was saving for Dot, which also have white chocolate chips as you can see. I advise against white chocolate chips for cakes you're going to give for events or as gifts, as they toast and can look quite brown and burned, making them look less appealing. Dot loves them like that though so no problem for home eating.

I wish I could take credit for the recipe but I can't. It's from Muffins: Fast and Fantastic by Susan Reimer and it is the recipe I use the most as it comes out brilliant every time.

255g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
110-170g caster sugar
3-5 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 egg
240-260ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
90ml vegetable oil
Chocolate chips for decorating

1. Heat the oven to 190-200°C , 170-190°C fan, or gas mark 5-6. Prepare muffin tin.

2. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, caster sugar and cocoa powder.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg, then add the milk, vanilla essence and oil, and stir.

4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined and there are no dry bits of mixture left. Do not overmix or the muffins will be tough. The batter might be lumpy but don't worry about it.

5. Fill the muffin cases with mixture, about three quarters full. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the muffins. Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. When cooked, the tops should be slightly springy and the insides moist and just cake-like.

This recipe is so simple and I don't think there's anyway it can go wrong. For me, it has always worked beautifully and the muffins taste better than any I've bought in the shops. I'm sure you'll be converted after trying them but let me know what you think!

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